by Bessie Flores Zaldívar

Please Be Okay (Summer Prayers)

Because it was the summer
your acrylics were orange-matte.
You ran them up my naked chest,
made a string & cup telephone
between my navel & neck. I wanted you
to slide a prayer into my belly, press
your ear to my mouth. Listen
to the ends of your voice survive
the meat of me & know no part of you
disappears in the transbodylation of us. No gold
hung from my ears or neck that night.
We had been dancing early 2000’s bachata
& I knew wherever your hips gestured,
I’d find the morning. Because it was the summer,
we left the suicide door open. Romeo Santos’ voice
lingering fingers around your nape
& your breath on my cheek like the memory
of birth. Pizza crusts sweated on cardboard
in a corner & maybe we’d come
all this way just to be here. Here—
something about how your sun sign is my moon &
Harlem is not close to Honduras & our tongue
fibers were celloed to different vowel drops & whatever.  
Everything is impossible if we forget the space
between our shoulder blades is also a valley.
So, tell them the morning found us impossible—as ever.
With earlobes pregnant like rain clouds,
the pull of home always weighing & always waiting.
That we tried to fold each other into a creaseless
Virginia town but the shriek of birds snipped
that string you drew through me. Don’t say
that because your acrylics were orange-matte,
I knew it was summer. That the sun rose
from the crescent of your cuticles & I let your hands
tell me the seasons. Don’t say that when I opened
my mouth and let my insides spill over the suicide door
the next morning, before anything else, out came your prayers.

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Bessie Flores Zaldívar is a poet and writer from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Bessie's work can be found in F(r)iction, Foglifter, CRAFT, Palette Poetry, and elsewhere. Rain Revolutions, Bessie's fiction chapbook, is out now with Long Day Press. Read more at

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by Nick Martino

What It Holds

On a Tuesday morning, in a shoal of spring light,

the answer to what’s left to learn about love? is my father

small beside the hundred-gallon kettle. I’m here

to see the microbrewery that he owns, returning

for the first time in many years, my chaperone—

among lambics & wort, he translates for me.

Beneath the kettle, his heart is the raft of wild iris

on the bank of the drainage creek outside that leads

away from here, & his heart is the flathead carp

in his fealty of silt. I love, too—sometimes like this,

& sometimes like this. My father wipes dust

from the little kettle window with his fingertips,

tracing circles until the grain becomes visible.

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Nick Martino was born along the ocean of Lake Michigan. An MFA candidate in poetry at UC Irvine, his work has been published or is forthcoming in Sugar House Review, Juked, Meridian, and Carve Magazine.

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by Ruyi Wen


One day, while snow still clings to the edges of sidewalks and rooflines, you stop going to work. I worry you’ve lost your job, and try to console you by insulating you with the warm air blowing through my veins, still tinged with the aroma of chocolate-chip cookies baked in the oven yesterday.

A few days later, Caroline stops going to work too. I wonder if you’ve both lost your jobs, and will soon have to scoop out your belongings from my every crevice, leaving me an empty shell, like the family before you did, and the one before that.

Nora and Evan stay inside for all of spring break, which is not too unusual. But at the end of the week, they do not leave. In the mornings, they ignore Caroline’s knocks and lie burrowed in my dark hollows until the sun clears the top of the neighbor’s giant oak. Have they both been expelled from school? Could a quadruple calamity have befallen us all at once?

In search of hints, I begin eavesdropping closely on dinner conversations, which have grown sparse in words but thick with meaning. There are veiled references to a crown, a plague, doors slamming shut around the world. Your children flout your no devices at the dinner table rule. You do too.

There is a change in the air, a familiar hum, but not of the vacuum inhaling dust bunnies, or the dryer tumbling winter blankets. It takes me several days before I can recall when I’ve heard this sound before. It is the sound of pattering footsteps the year Evan starts kindergarten, when he keeps running into your room to escape his night terrors. A gasp in the darkness, when you wake to the muffled thumps of strangers slipping into the living room through an unfastened window. The tapping of fingers against the kitchen counter, the light grunts of throats being constantly cleared, and whispers of not in front of the kids, before another call from the doctor and a sigh of relief.

The buzz of fear is outside too. I notice that people cross the street now to avoid each other, but instead of retaliatory frowns and snorts, there are relieved nods and raised palms, gestures of acknowledgement typically reserved for cars stopped at crosswalks and balls kicked back to children playing on the lawns. Only now there are very few cars at the crosswalks and no children at all on the lawns. One morning, I see a pair of mallard ducks waddling down the street, the male in emerald and sapphire like a king inspecting his subjects. It only takes a brief absence of you for the wild to reclaim the land.

The other houses and I gossip, through the sewer pipes and power lines that connect us, swapping stories about the abrupt changes in our deed holders. They all say the same thing too. Everyone is shut-in.

I start hearing the word gratitude a lot. You are grateful for your job, for your family, for your health, for this unexpected gift of time, for me. Evan draws signs and hangs them from my windows, thanking doctors, nurses, first responders, mail carriers, sanitation workers, supermarket cashiers, even the slaughtermen who transform cows into beef. He gets upset when he realizes he forgot truck drivers and warehouse stockers, and there is no more poster board. In the evenings, you help Nora with her trigonometry homework, though the word asymptotic makes you think of asymptomatic, and Nora has to summon your mind back from the rabbit hole it falls into.

On Saturdays, Caroline fills me with the scent of warm sourdough while you go to the hardware store and come back carrying lumber and paint and power tools.Finally, you have time for all the little me-improvement projects you’ve been meaning to do. The splintered railing on my deck finally gets fixed, loose screws on the kitchen drawers tightened, creaky hinges oiled. You clear the musty attic of its junk to transform it into your office. Your spouse works from the dining table.

There are hardships, of course, for everyone. Evan fidgets all day in front of the screen, unable to find an outlet for his pent-up energy, now that basketball at the Y is canceled and the hoops have been removed from the playground courts. When Nora’s hand slips under the bread knife and blooms red, you clean the cut yourself and hope for the best. Urgent care is a little risky right now, agrees Caroline, but we’ll go if it starts looking infected.

While running a wifi extender to the attic for your new office space, you accidentally step through a section of unsupported drywall flooring between my joists, leaving a ragged hole in the ceiling of the master bathroom. You and Caroline debate whether it’s safe to have a contractor come in to fix it, decide it isn’t, and patch me up with heavy-duty tape, a makeshift bandage over an ugly wound.

A layer of dust is starting to gather on my windowsills. But cleaning products are scarce, and you must conserve your dwindling supply for kitchen counters, groceries, and delivery packages. I whistle lightly in the wind. It’s understandable. All of us are making sacrifices.

Not all of us, you scowl, pointing at the pick-up trucks parked along the curb and the rented dumpster down the street. Look at those assholes, adding a goddamn guest suite to their house at a time like this.

Caroline tilts her head, looking out the window in the direction of your finger. Well, the executive order does list construction as an essential business.

Sure, maybe for critical infrastructure, you say. But the Beckers are clearly abusing the rules.

Caroline sighs and rubs the small of your back. Who knows, maybe they have a good reason.

Facebook informs you that a former classmate is visiting Cancun as soon as the resorts reopen. You read out her captions about mental health and safety protocols in a mocking falsetto. Does she really believe she can socially distance on a plane that’s two-thirds full? You look up the airline she is flying and find out the seats are eighteen inches wide. It would take three empty seats—plus an aisle—between passengers to stay six feet apart. You clutch at your heart, which goes out to the poor Mexicans who have to go to work so this woman can get fresh towels and room service.

Another friend announces he’s relocating to the family beach house for the foreseeable future. The kids are going stir-crazy and we need our sanity, he pleads preemptively, in vain. You growl that he has always been a selfish bastard. But I see how your thumb lingers over the photos of wet sand piled high in toy buckets, a yellow cottage with white trim, palm trees etched against a pastel sky. You wish you were there.

I wish you were there too.

There’s a chorus of agreement from the other houses when the thought trickles out of me. In normal times, we would take turns taking beatings from the hordes of family scuffing our walls, muddy shoes not left at the door wearing our carpets thin, and heathen little cousins somehow spilling sticky things on our ceilings.

Your Grandma’s Queen Anne townhouse might babysit everyone for Christmas and your sister’s ranch gets Thanksgiving, but everyone squeezes into my Craftsman bungalow frame on the Fourth of July. Last year I got so sick of the firework scars on the back lawn that I ‘arranged’ an injury. Nothing major. A bubbling cauldron in one of the toilets, it was big enough to sway everyone to gather elsewhere, but small enough to be an easy fix after the holidays. For the first time in years, I had a break, from the constant stomping, yelling, chatter, fireworks and tears. And I didn’t have to smell like smoke for a month.

But now, there’s always someone here. All four of you in different rooms throughout the day, screens babbling nonstop. Occasionally, you or Caroline leave me for a trip to the supermarket, donning your face covering like a badge of faith, but you are back before I can even exhale properly. Meanwhile, Nora scratches moody symbols on the underside of the bed frame where you can’t see, and Evan, whistling like an agitated teakettle, pounds on my door with a ball, leaving a bruise on the paint with each bounce.

You are perpetually restless too, muttering profanities about people you suspect to be skeptics. I can’t remember what you studied in college, but I don’t think it was immunology, or statistics, or constitutional law, though you rant with the fervor of an expert in every field at dinnertime. Nora seems embarrassed by your litanies of grievances. She avoids eye contact, pokes at the food on her plate and announces her departure to her room at the first opportunity, typical teenager behavior. Caroline puts a hand on your shoulder. You shrug it off.

After an initial spurt of activity, the supplies from the hardware store move into a forgotten corner of the garage. I discover that you do not quite live up to your name, Mason, which in my mind always conjured up the image of a self-assured, competent artisan. Many of the projects you’ve long promised me turn out to be beyond your capabilities, and you hide evidence of the failures behind the gardening tools. On the weekends, you lounge on the sofa, endlessly doom scrolling through charts of undulating curves and photos of people congregating maskless, while Caroline occasionally yells at Evan to take a break from the video games he now plays all day.

The dust on my windowsill has thickened visibly, forming the opposite of a chalkboard. A small spider, wispy as lint, has built a web in the corner of one window. When Evan finds it, he squishes it against the wood and lifts his finger to contemplate the sunburst of legs splaying out from a flattened body.

You still sit down in the evenings to help Nora with math, though both of you now approach the dinner table with dread. You snap at her for not grasping the equations for exponential growth, an anger redirected from not understanding them yourself either.

My hinges begin to whine again and my drains grumble. But with no guests to impress, you no longer see the point of keeping me presentable; merely habitable is good enough. When you take video calls for work, you pair ironed button-down shirts with grease-stained sweatpants.

Caroline suggests calling a plumber for the slow drip of my kitchen faucet, but you balk at the idea of strangers violating your sanctuary. If you’ve managed to make do all this time with a hole in the ceiling, surely you could suffer a few extra dollars on the water bill until things go back to normal. Once it’s safe again, you’ll call the plumber, first thing.

I moan under the weight of your four pairs of feet, incessantly tramping on my floorboards. You turn down proposals of a backyard barbecue, a professional haircut, a visit to the dentist. Instead, you sit patiently, piously beneath Caroline’s scissors hacking your hair into unflattering shapes. I recognize the thought from your face: what is an asymmetrical buzz cut, or the sharp throbbing in your jaw whenever you sip a cold drink, if not the exquisite pain of martyrdom?

My hopes rise when I hear that for Caroline’s birthday, you are planning a rare pastoral outing: a full-morning family hike in a nearby nature preserve, followed by a picnic. I watch as you drag the kids out of bed early on Sunday morning and make them excavate their wrinkled outdoor clothing from closet corners, while you stuff backpacks with sandwiches and apples and chocolate-chip cookies. A shudder of delight runs down my timbers as I watch the hatchback retreat down the driveway and disappear around the stop sign. You neglected to shut off the heat and one of the bathroom lights before leaving, but at least, at last, there is room to breathe.

Then suddenly, your car is back again. The four of you return far too early, in stormy moods, judging by the staccato crunch of gravel under sneakers. The backpacks land on the kitchen counter with the heavy thud of uneaten provisions. You huff that it’s not your fault, there were too many barefaced runners on the trails, spewing their polluted breaths into the air, covering miles of distance for their own pleasure but unwilling to grant you even six feet of indulgence. Caroline says nothing, just goes down the hallway and shuts herself in. So does Nora. Evan pretends not to hear the slamming doors over the rat-a-tat sound effects from his console.

I know what I need to do.

I cut myself, in the dark of night, at just the right depth. The pipes burst with an arterial gush of murky water, rendering the entire first floor sopping wet within minutes. All of you rush outside and huddle on the lawn, shivering in your fragile bedroom clothes. The sight makes me think of startled newborns, freshly ripped from the womb, still slick with amniotic fluid.

My breakdown reveals the truth. You’re capable of giving me some peace and quiet after all. Hardly an hour later, an assortment of bags and boxes, haphazardly packed to overflowing, are being loaded into the hatchback. Caroline is on the phone; she has already found a place for all of you to stay, a nearby motel desperate for business that offered a bargain basement weekly rate.

The professional who comes to examine me treads lightly, respectfully on my floorboards. His hard hat brushes against my wall when he peers gingerly into my wounds with a flashlight. He jots down notes on a clipboard and I hear him say the sweet words full rehab. It’ll take at least four weeks, he tells you, maybe six. The pipes will have to be refitted. Drywall rehung, cracks resealed, electrical wiring replaced. And his men have to work more slowly, farther apart. Governor’s orders.

Not to mention, he adds, it’s a busy time for his crew just now, demand for remodels being as high as it is. He is juggling three other projects. But yours will be top priority, he promises.

I settle onto my concrete slab, joints popping every millimeter of the way down. The next four weeks, maybe six, are mine to be pampered and cared for as I had hoped you would have done. I wonder if, in the cramped connecting rooms of the Deluxe Inn, maybe you’ll finally reach an epiphany about the other squeaky doors in your life and face some of the truths I’ve seen inside my walls.

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Ruyi Wen's writing has appeared in Barren Magazine, Booth, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and other publications. She lives in Texas.

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by Sam Wiles

Frank on a Plane

Frank didn’t like dreaming. Either he had a pleasant dream and was disappointed by waking up in his current life, or he had a nightmare that embarrassed him. Imagine if you had a friend that lied to you like this, like your brain did. That friend would be an asshole.  Say your friend played a practical joke that convinced you that you were suddenly nude at your high school; you would hate that friend.

This was the thought Frank was having when he woke up on a plane, Flight 2778 from SAC to DFW. The flight attendant asked if he wanted anything to drink and he sloppily yanked out his headphones and then she asked again. He ordered a cranberry-apple juice, the whole can, and closed his eyes again, even though he could tell he wasn’t going to fall back asleep. The woman next to him was watching something on her iPad that could only have been a show about the end of a police flashlight and the kid in the row in front of him was bucking around in his seat like it wasn’t the middle of the night. At one point the kid’s mom asked him to be still and the kid told his mom to “suck his little butt,” and the mom gave up. Frank briefly considered holding his pillow to his ears like someone in a movie does to show they’re desperate to drown out noise. That wouldn’t work, Frank thought. You can’t press your hands to your head and sleep. If I ever made a movie it wouldn’t have that thing, Frank noted. 

Frank turned his body so he was fully facing the window.  He accepted that he was awake. It wasn’t unpleasant, if only because he was still in a Xanax haze from his nap, his consciousness wearing a warm shirt. There was only an hour and twenty minutes left in his flight; an amount of time he could easily conceive. He was calm and alert.  He stared out at the bright moon and the thick passing clouds.

It was there, during a rare moment where he was truly thinking of nothing, Frank saw it out on the wing. A dark hunkered over outline at first, but the bright moon made it clearly visible. Frank saw a creature out on the wing of the plane like in that episode of the Twilight Zone.

Holy shit, this is like in that episode of the Twilight Zone, Frank thought.

He blinked hard to see if it was a trick of the light, or some weird eye floaters, or like a cloud that got stuck. Clouds don’t get stuck, you idiot, he said to himself. He shut and re-opened the window shade, a sort of manual blink, but it was still there. He covered one eye. Still there.

A creature on the wing, just like the Twilight Zone.

It wasn’t gremliny, like the Lithgow one, or a man in a kind of melted ape suit like the William Shatner one. It was real. It was man-sized. It had kind of a dog’s hind legs but stood relatively upright. It had long arms and what looked like claw hands. It was grey, and had sort of a fish head; big black dead eyes, a big frowning mouth. It looked at Frank for a second and Frank made a stupid little gasping sound. No one else noticed. The other window seaters were asleep.

The creature was (of course it was, he thought) doing the stuff from that Twilight Zone episode: hacking at the wing, trying to pry panels off, general misbehavior. This was too big of a coincidence. He must be dreaming...but he could tell he was awake. He was awake and he was very much seeing a creature on the wing, trying to tear it apart, which was a thing he had seen before on TV.

Frank sat for a second, unsure of his next move.
Who do I tell? The pilot?
Do I call the flight attendant?
Do I tell my fellow passengers?
Are we all going to die if I don’t do something?

He reached for the call button but stopped short.

They’re going to think I’m insane, he thought. They’ll think that I watched that specific Twilight Zone and I'm all zonked on anxiety medication. Sure he’d taken medication, but it was the normal amount. Right? Had he accidentally taken like 12? Was he looking at his phone and had passively taken 12 Xanax?

He ruled out hallucination. He was just too lucid. He knew how lucidity felt, and baby this was it. Still, this would likely be very embarrassing. He would tell someone there was a creature on the wing, trying to tear the plane apart, and they would say “like that one Twlight Zone?” And he would have to say “yes, like that Twilight Zone, but it’s happening for real.”

And they would not believe him, of course!
With good reason!
Because it’s insane!

They would say “are you sure, pal?” and he would say “yes I’m extremely sure,” and they would say “are you sure you haven’t been drinking, fella?” and he’d say “I don’t drink! I got a DUI right after college, no one got hurt or anything, and I’m not proud of it, but I swore off drinking then! I haven’t drank since, for real!” Oh God, he would have to admit to his DUI to these random people on his flight.

And then of course when whoever he was talking to, probably some beautiful red-haired flight attendant, would look out the window and of course, the creature wouldn’t be there. And then Gretchen, that sounds right, the red-haired flight attendant with glasses, a thing he always liked, would say “Ok shooter, I think you just had a bad dream” and Frank would have to say “No I’m fully lucid! It’s just disappearing under the wing or something when you look, like in the Twilight Zone! I know how that sounds because it seemed like I was already just having some kind of insane living dream about that specific episode, except I’m the William Shatner!”

And then what? He would have to spaz out, force an emergency landing in order to stop a plane crash? Could he even commit to freaking out like the William Shatner character in a convincing enough way to make the plane land? Frank was not a good actor and could never commit to any kind of ruse. He always gave away a surprise party. He gave Christmas presents on December 22nd because he couldn’t deal with having a secret. He was tissue paper. He was butter in the microwave.

Realistically, Frank thought he would probably work up a little sweat, scream, “There’s something on the—“and when everyone turned he would say “wing of the plane,” in a quiet, embarrassed voice. He would sit back down, probably. He felt the heat in his cheeks that comes with knowing exactly what you are like.

So Frank did the next thing he thought of, which was to try and startle the creature. Maybe it was like “he’s more afraid of people than we are of him,” like a deer or something.  He could startle it with a sudden movement. Frank tapped on the glass of the window. It was obviously too thick. Frank knocked. He knocked on the glass and of course, it did nothing. This was a modern airplane, for Moses’ sake. Frank then waved. It was all he could think to do. He waved like the creature was a baby in a restaurant.

For a second, Frank waving, or something else entirely, drew the creature’s attention. And then immediately the creature looked down and pried a whole panel off of the plane’s wing. Oh right, Frank thought, this thing is literally riding on the outside of a plane, it probably doesn’t just startle.

The creature put its hands into the guts of the wing and immediately the plane began to buck and weave. The pilot came over the loudspeaker and instructed everyone to buckle up. They were experiencing some unexpected turbulence. Of fucking course they were, Frank thought, there’s a goddamn Twilight Zone thing on the plane!

I’ll ignore it, Frank thought. I’ll just sit here and think about something else. I’ll count. That’s what I’ll do, I’ll count some numbers, Frank thought. That’s perfect. There are so many I won’t run out. He got to 27 when the lights in the cabin flickered on and off and it was clearly because of the creature. Frank let out a little yelp and the woman next to him, who was still watching what could only be a solar eclipse on her iPad at full brightness, glared at him.

This is how I die, Frank thought. I die in a plane crash because of a fucking creature on the wing of the plane like in the Twilight Zone. Frank tried to get up and say something but was frozen. The plane pitched and yawed, but all Frank could think of was how everyone would tell him how he was just seeing things and that he was crazy and then one thing would lead to another and he would have to talk about his DUI, probably, and the time he paid a red-headed woman on the internet $250 dollars to watch her fill her ice cube trays in her underwear. He had a red-heads thing and did NOT want to have to MAYBE tell everyone on the plane about it!

Frank looked back out at the creature on the wing and it was really going to town. It was pulling out wires. Sparks were flying. This is very bad, Frank thought.

He swallowed, trying to fight off his new cottonmouth. He imagined what it would be like to die in a plane crash. He tried to visualize the rapid deceleration, the air pressure annihilating his eardrums, the actual moment of impact. He tried to visualize his head snapping forward, hopefully killing him instantly, and what that would feel like. He tried to imagine hitting the ground from this high up. He tried to picture bursting into flames.

Frank couldn’t take it any longer. He was sweating through his shirt. His eyes were welling up the way they did when he was a child and would get lost at the mall. He saw the flight attendant, an extremely reasonable looking brunette woman in her forties, and motioned to her.

“Can I get you something, Sir?”

Frank couldn’t speak. The words were caught on the back of his tongue. Really? That's what was happening, Frank thought? She was never going to believe him. No one was.

He started weeping.

“Sir, are you alright?”

Frank’s mouth wouldn’t move. His tears ran onto his tongue, salty and slick. The plane pitched up and down, with audible ‘oh’s’ from the other passengers. The babies that weren’t already crying started to cry too. People complained loudly. “This is making me sick! I’m 78 years old for Christ’s sake!” said some guy.

“Sir, I’m sorry, but I really need to return to my seat, the fasten seatbelt sign is on, so if you could just tell me what’s the matter...”

Frank did his best. He motioned to the window, his mouth contorted mid sob. The flight attendant looked at him with her most sympathetic face. He was probably very ill, she thought.

“I’m sorry sweetheart, the turbulence should end soon. Turbulence is very hard, especially if you don’t like to fly.”

Frank jerked his crying head toward the window. He pressed his finger on the glass. He readied himself for the humiliation.

“Oh Jesus. There’s something on the wing!” the flight attendant yelled.

“Holy shit, there is!” said the woman with the insanely bright iPad. “Hey everyone! Come everybody! Look!”

The flight attendant rushed to the cockpit to tell the pilot. Slowly several passengers, in collective defiance of the seatbelt sign, got up and went over to Frank’s window, and looked at the creature.

“Oh weird. What is that?”

Frank was shocked. “You can see it?” Frank choked out.

“Of course? It’s right there.”

“That’s like that one episode of the Twilight Zone,” said that guy who was 78.

“What’s the Twilight Zone?” said the young butt sucking mother with the rowdy kid.

“...a missing link in the evolutionary chain between humans and dolphins. It’s believed that Havenstein’s Creature, named after renowned biologist Dr. Robert Havenstein, who happened to be the first scientist on the scene when the plane emergency landed in Las Cruces, New Mexico, had accidentally been caught in a fishing net near Vancouver. It is also believed that Havenstein’s Creature, affectionately known as “Bat Shark” on social media for its shark-like skin, and wide, batwing-like fins, had attached itself to Mountaineer Airlines Flight 2778, confusing the plane for the smooth surface of an ocean cave wall. An excavation in the waters of the Pacific Northwest has already uncovered a “Bat Shark” skeleton from an underwater cave. “Now that we know what it is, it’s much easier to find these things,” said Dr. John Bianca, an archaeologist at the University of Montana, and head of one of several teams of Bat Shark researchers. How the creature was able to stay on the wing seems relatively clear: Bat Shark has long talons on the end of its feet, which it uses, theoretically, to hide on the sides of underwater cliff faces. How it was able to breath regular oxygen is still perplexing scientists, who continue to run tests on…”

Frank slammed the magazine down.

“What?” said Carla, Frank’s new girlfriend.

“Not one mention of the passengers. Just, here’s what the creature is, here’s where it came from, here’s what it looks like. Nothing about the people on the plane.”


Carla looked at Frank, confused.

“I just thought that maybe, I’d get to say my side of it in print.”

“But they did a feature about the passengers in New York Magazine, right?” Carla asked.

“Yeah, of everybody...” Frank trailed off.


“I mean, when do I get to say what happened? I was the one who saw the thing! First, I mean. I saw it first.”

“Didn’t the flight attendant see it? That’s what the article said.”

“No, I saw it first. I saw it, and I did a whole thing. I had a paralyzing, uh, like a quandary. I couldn’t decide whether or not to tell anyone because I didn’t think anyone would believe me, so then I was paralyzed by fear of the thing and of embarrassment because everyone would think I was crazy—”

“You saw it and didn’t say anything?”

“I told you. I didn’t think anyone would believe me. I thought when I tried to show it to someone, the thing would disappear. And then everyone would be like ‘you dumbass, there’s no creature, you’re having a dream’ and so on.”

“Like in the Twilight Zone?”


“Hmm. But how would it know if you were showing someone? Like it was real life, so there’s no way the Bat Shark could know when you were pointing it out to someone. I mean from the article, it sounded like the thing was actually stuck there, in the same spot. That’s why it was trying to dig through the wing,” Carla asked.

Frank looked around Carla’s apartment, as if someone would be there to back him up.

“Well now I know it’s not like the Twilight Zone, but at the time, I didn't know! It just, uh, seemed really embarrassing! To be going through a scenario everyone had already seen? Then you just seem crazy. Like imagine if there was a real Superman. He couldn’t even save the stupid day without everyone going ‘oh that’s like Superman.’”

Carla made a face like she was really considering what to say next.


“The point is,” Frank said a little louder and more declaratively, “is that I had a very unique and specific experience, a life changing, nay, perspective altering experience, and no one wants to hear it! They just say ‘oh like that Twilight Zone,’ and I don’t even get to say what happened to me. Just because it has already happened on a television show! But the thing from the Twilight Zone never happened. My thing actually happened! Who cares if it's from the Twilight Zone? It happened to me for real!”

“I can see how that would be frustrating,” Carla said, trying to be sympathetic.

“Yeah. Well. It is!” Frank said. “I’m going to bed.”

Frank trudged up the stairs to Carla’s room. I better not have any fucking dreams, he thought.

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Sam Wiles is right handed...and there's more! Sam is a comedian and has performed in clubs and festivals all over the country. He has written for NBC, FOX, TNT, and Mad Magazine, as well as co-created the popular web series Gridiron Heights.

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